And while niche sites that cater to specific religions, interests and even food preferences can be enticing (like vegetarian-focused Veggie Date.com), experts say to always pair searching on those platforms with one that has broader appeal. Don’t disclose personal information, such as your home address, when first getting to know someone, and never share banking information or transfer money.
“The pool on those niche sites is always smaller,” says Hoffman. Terms such as “poly” (for polyamory or consensual non-monogamy) or “fwb” (for friend with benefits) can indicate the type of relationships people seek. Carla Vande Weerd, a University of South Florida professor and coauthor of a report that explored the online dating experiences of women 50 and older, recommends doing a video chat before meeting someone in person.
For an older demographic used to classified ads, blind dates and singles bars, the cyber dating world can feel like an alternate universe.
However, there are also those who are genuine, honest and looking for love. Online dating “is a job, and is not easy,” says Brianne Porcelli, 56, who met now-husband Joe Porcelli, 66 on eharmony. I went to work and home.” Eharmony “took much of the legwork out of meeting someone,” she says.
“I never would have met Joe if it weren't for this site,” she says. It’ll likely take dedication, and patience, to meet your ideal match.
“Peak season is the perfect time for naysayers and first-timers to join an online dating site,” she says.
Here's how to be savvy and safe, as well as sane, in the cyber search for love.